Studies have found that CBD, often together with THC, is an effective pain reliever for a variety of chronic diseases. In clinical trials, Sativex, an aerosol with equal parts of CBD and THC, proved to be significantly successful as an analgesic for cancer-related pain. While many studies have suggested that CBD oil is useful for pain, more research is needed, especially long-term studies with humans. The final result? CBD, and your expectations about whether it will help (the placebo effect), may make the pain feel less annoying, but it doesn't seem to reduce the intensity of the pain.
In rats, after ligation of the L5 spinal nerve, CBD and its modified derivatives (dihydroxyl-CBD and dideoxy-CBD) suppressed chronic neuropathic pain. More research is needed to understand the role of CBD in the treatment of chronic neuropathic pain, including risks, benefits, and ideal doses. Given its promising results in animal models, along with its relative safety, non-psychoactive properties, and low potential for abuse, CBD is an attractive candidate for pain relief. As early as 2003, formulations containing CBD have been used in the clinic to study their effectiveness in reducing pain when traditional treatment options have failed.
This research looked at the effects of cannabis-derived drugs, including CBD, for chronic neuropathic pain. Since the early 2000s, clinical trials with CBD for the treatment of chronic pain have demonstrated effects ranging from placebo equivalent to highly effective; many of these studies have been well-designed, randomized, double-blind, and placebo-controlled. They also provided guidance to the Arthritis Foundation, which recently surveyed 2,600 people with arthritis and found that 29% currently use CBD to treat arthritis symptoms. Most clinical studies describe the effectiveness of co-administration of CBD and Δ9-THC, usually at doses of 2.5 mg of CBD and 2.7 mg of Δ9-THC in an oral mucosal spray, with treatment periods ranging from one to several weeks.
Preclinical and clinical studies suggest a possible antinociceptive effect of CBD and CBD combined with other compounds in several pain-related diseases. In a complete Freund's adjuvant-induced monoarthritic knee joint model in rats, transdermal CBD gel applied for 4 days dose-dependently reduced joint swelling, limb posture scores, synovial membrane thickening and pain in animals. Much of the research literature on CBD in particular supports its use as a treatment for childhood epilepsy. For example, CBD can increase levels of anandamide in the body, a compound associated with pain regulation, which can reduce pain perception and improve mood.
Both CBD and THC act on the body's natural endocannabinoid system, which plays a role in many processes, such as appetite, pain and memory. Still, Boehnke warned, this study was conducted on healthy volunteers, so it can't tell us much about how or if CBD affects people with real pain disorders.